Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Scissor Sisters - Baby Come Home

Baby Come Home is the new single from Scissor Sisters, out on July 23rd and part of the line-up from their latest album Magic Hour.

Back in May, we gave Magic Hour a fairly conservative 70%, but hopefully we got the message across that, for fans of the Scissor Sisters (and fans of having a good time) that figure should really be much higher.

Now the singles are starting to hit the stands, it'll be good to hear Baby Come Home (hopefully) get some radio play in its own right - at a little over three minutes, it's primed for airplay.

Baby Come Home - Magic Hour

Do we like Baby Come Home? Well sure - what's not to like? It's a simple but decent crowdpleaser that'll give you a chance to throw a few funky shapes on the dancefloor, and there's nothing wrong with that.

It's also a prime example of the Scissor Sisters ethos - not too hung up about breaking new ground, but happy to simply give you something to dance to.

And with The Dark Knight Rises due out any day now, Magic Hour's prospects in the charts can't have been hurt too much by an endorsement from new Catwoman Anne Hathaway in her recent Letterman appearance - skip to the nine-minute mark below.

Anne explains the idea behind a 'kiki' - a party to calm your nerves, a chance to kick back with some friends, and some good music - and it seems like the dictionary definition of what Scissor Sisters are all about.

Let's Have a Kiki is one of the Ana-led tracks on Magic Hour, and has been gaining ground in the past few weeks, thanks in no small part to the video below - which is totally unofficial, but you can still click the iTunes link to download the song if you want.

Let's Have a Kiki - Magic Hour

When tracks are finding videos and single-like popularity of their own accord, you know you've done something good with your latest album - although this may have put a spanner in the works of any plans to officially release Let's Have a Kiki in the future.

Still, if that gives another of Magic Hour's star tracks the chance to shine in its place, that can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Diana Vickers live at The Deaf Institute, Manchester, July 16th 2012

Diana Vickers brought Christmas to a rainy July in Manchester last night, with a tinsel-strewn glimpse of some of the tracks from her upcoming new album.

In an all-too-brief one-hour set, she delivered an intimate but exciting gig that some die-hard Vickers fans have already claimed was her best ever.

This was my first look at Diana Vickers as a live performer (not counting live performances on TV, obviously) and it was a far cry from the innocent-little-girl act she played back on The X Factor.

Present-day Diana is all grown up, and her music is maturing too - but there's still plenty of fun in there, too.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Jennie Sawdon, live at The Sanctuary, July 8th 2012

The inimitable Jennie Sawdon made a welcome return to The Sanctuary in Didsbury, Manchester last night, and I was privileged to be in the crowd - which I'm fairly sure has grown in size each time Jennie's provided the music at the bar's fortnightly Sunday Jazz night.

It's an unpredictable night, with musicians travelling the length of the country - sometimes literally - to be involved. Jennie is north-west based herself, but her ensemble had assembled from further afield. Anthony, who was recording the performance for a possible upcoming live album (yes please, Jennie...!), had made the journey up from London.

Each fortnight, this level of commitment delivers something a little bit special, regardless of your musical tastes, but Jennie's emotion-charged, flawless vocals add an unparalleled edge to her appearances, creating a genuinely intimate air that is not solely down to the bijou scale of the venue.

We're waiting with considerable anticipation on any firm details of the live album, but for those who already own their copies of Jennie's debut, self-produced album Fighting the Fairytale, the prospect of a professionally produced collection of her live work is tantalising indeed.

In the meantime, there's the album, the YouTube videos (such as the one above, and the beautiful video Jennie recently released for her love song Nothing) and the tracks that make it on to the front page of her website.

We're thrilled to have tracked Jennie's career almost since the day she launched Fighting the Fairytale, which in itself transformed her from a jobbing wedding singer into a fully fledged recording artist - and realised a lifelong dream in the process.

As always, Jennie was ably supported by an army of friends and family, including hubby Chris Geere of Waterloo Road fame (you may spot him in the video above) who is possibly even more generous with hugs than Jennie is herself.

I've said it before, and I'll no doubt say it again, but in this new age of instant access via Twitter, it's the approachable stars who shine the brightest - not those with seven-figure follower counts - and Jennie, her parents and aunt, Chris and the whole entourage are among the most welcoming people I've met.

Undoubtedly, it is this sense of inclusion - bolstered by Jennie's heartfelt and revealing introductions to each of her songs - that keeps drawing her audience back again and again.

With all of that in mind, it seems particularly fitting that this time around, it was one of Jennie's covers that marked the emotional high point of the evening for me, alongside her own tale of sisterly love and perennial crowd-pleaser, Echoes.

This time out, it was her elegant and understated rendition of Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time that really stole the show (although perhaps that's because it's one of my favourite songs...).

But between the covers and the original compositions, the jazz and the ballads, there was, once again, plenty for everyone to appreciate, regardless of taste - and Jennie's performance, accomplished as ever, has me counting the days until the Sawdon clan descend en masse on The Sanctuary once again.